The Summer Solstice, also known as Midsummer and Litha, is coming up on Monday June 20th. For those who celebrate, or anyone who could use a boost of positive energy after the last few weeks (and months), I thought I'd share this ritual from the Midsummer book I wrote for Llewellyn' Sabbats series. Midsummer
As always, you can change any of the elements of this that don't work for you. Happy Summer Solstice!
The Solitary Midsummer: Drawing Down the Sun
In Wiccan magickal workings, there is a practice known as “Drawing Down the Moon,” in which a witch (usually, but not always, a priestess) channels the Goddess by drawing Her essence into herself. Less common is the practice of “Drawing Down the Sun,” in which a (usually male) witch channels the God. This is not that kind of drawing down the sun.
Purpose: This ritual’s focus is on pulling in the power of the sun at its zenith and taking that energy inside yourself, where it will charge your own spiritual battery in preparation for the darker months to come. The ritual is fairly simple, with few tools needed, and is perfect for both the experienced practitioner and one who is new to the path. It can also be converted relatively easily to a group ritual, if desired.
Setting: This should be done at noon if possible, on the day of Midsummer. If necessary, it can be done at any point during the day as long as the sun is still shining overhead. If it is raining on the actual day, the energy will still be much the same within a couple of days before and after, although not quite as powerful. As with most other Midsummer rituals, this one is best done outside, under the sun, preferably in the middle of an open area like a meadow or a yard. It can also be done on a beach, or anyplace where you will be sitting where the sun is shining on you. If you can’t be outside, try to find a spot inside where the sun will fall directly on you while you are doing the ritual, even if that means performing it before or after noon in order to have the sun shining in the right place.
Supplies: You need god and goddess candles (gold/silver or yellow/white or white/white) in fire-safe holders, four quarter candles (one each green/yellow/red/blue), a pillar candle to represent the sun (yellow or orange or red). You also need a cast iron cauldron or fire-safe container or candle holder, salt and water in small containers, a small bowl to mix them in, incense or a sage smudge stick in a holder or bowl, wide ribbon in a color that matches your sun candle (if your candle is yellow, use a yellow ribbon, etc.) long enough to tie around your waist, matches, sun-shaped or round cookies for cakes and ale (you can make sugar cookies and coat them with yellow frosting if you want), fruit juice or wine or mead or ale in a chalice or fancy cup. Optional—sunflowers or daisies as an offering for the gods, candle snuffer, athame, broom, or wand, decorative altar cloth, table to use as an altar, blanket or cloth to sit on if you are going to be outside.
Notes: While the instructions call for a full ritual set-up, if you don’t have everything listed here, don’t worry. The tools are meant to help you focus, and to heighten the sense of ceremony, and they will probably make your ritual even more powerful. But if you are not in a position to do the entire formal ritual (for instance, if you are not out of the broom closet, and you need something you can do quickly and without being obvious about it), you can do the core section of the ritual on its own.
Pre-Ritual Preparations: Place the god and goddess candles on your altar or in the middle of your circle (depending on whether you are using a formal altar or simply placing things on the ground or floor). Put the pillar candle in its holder between them, toward the front of the space, so you can sit in front of it easily, and tie the ribbon in a loose circle around the base of the holder. Place any offerings or decorations on the altar. Quarter candles can be placed on the altar in their proper directions, or at the edges of the circle, with the candle for earth facing north, air facing east, fire to the south and water to the west. Cakes and ale can be placed to the side, where you can reach them when the ritual is nearing its end.
The Ritual: Start by cleansing the space and yourself by smudging it with the sage wand (or incense). Walk around the circle clockwise, moving the smoke through the air, and visualizing your ritual area being washed clear of any negativity. Then do the same thing with yourself, starting at your head and working down to your feet. You can leave the sage/incense smoldering in its holder, or put it out.
Pour a little bit of salt into the small bowl, and add a little water. As you mix them together with your finger or an athame, say:
Salt into water, water into salt. Wash away all that is negative and impure, leaving only that which is positive and beneficial.
Dab the salt and water mixture on your forehead (for thoughts), lips (for speech), and heart (for feelings).
Cast the circle by walking its parameters and pointing toward the ground (you can use your finger, an athame, a broom, or a wand—if using a broom, make sweeping motions but keep the broom slightly above the surface of the ground), saying:
Earth to sky, sky to ground; let sacred space be all around.
Visualize your circle filling with white light, enclosing you in a space that is outside of normal time or place.
Call the quarters, starting with the east. Turn to the east and say:
I call the guardian of the east, the power of air, to come to this circle bringing refreshing summer breezes and lightness of spirit.
Light the yellow candle. Turn to the south and say:
I call the guardian of the south, the power of fire, to come to this circle bringing warm sunlight and a passion for summer joy.
Light the red candle. Turn to the west and say:
I call the guardian of the west, the power of water, to come to this circle bringing life-giving rains and a healing flow.
Light the blue candle. Turn to the north and say:
I call the guardian of the north, the power of earth, to come to this circle bringing energy for growth, and the strength of the ground below.
Light the green candle. Then, invoke the gods, using the words here or any of the alternatives in the previous chapter.
Great goddess, I greet you! You who are known by many names and many faces, shine your divine blessing down on me on this Midsummer Day, filling me with light and love.
Great god, I greet you! You who are the lord of the beasts and the fields and the woods, shine your divine blessing down on me this Midsummer Day, filling me with strength and energy.
Light the god and goddess candles.
Stand (or sit, if necessary) in front of your altar and light the candle that represents the sun. Close your eyes and lift your arms up into the air, as if reaching for the sun overhead, palms open and turned up. Feel the warmth of the sun on your face; feel its life-giving energy flowing into you through the crown chakra on the top of your head and down to fill your entire body. See yourself glowing with light and energy. Keep this image in your mind as strongly as you can, taking as long as you need. Then open your eyes and look at the candle. The flame in the candle symbolizes the heat and power of the sun—see that energy moving also into the candle, and from the candle, into the ribbon that is underneath it. Say:
Today is Midsummer and the sun is at its zenith. Its power and energy are all around me. Its power and energy are part of me. I am the fire of the sun.
Pick up the ribbon, hold it up to the sun, and then tie it around your waist. Feel the strength of the sun inside the ribbon, and say:
Within this token, I store the power and energy of the sun, that they may carry me through the darker days ahead.
Cakes and ale (optional): Hold up your “cake” and say,
I thank the earth for its harvest, and for the bounty it brings to my life.
Eat the cake. Hold up your cup and say,
I thank the sun for its life-giving rays that help the harvest to grow, and bring sweetness to this cup and to my life.
Drink the ale.
Thank the god and goddess by saying:
Blessed lady, blessed lord, I thank you for your presence in my circle here today and in my life always.
Snuff out the god and goddess candles.
Now it is time to dismiss the quarters. Starting at the north and turning counterclockwise (west, south, east), say in each direction:
I thank you (insert name of element in the order of: earth, water, fire, air) for watching over my circle and my magickal work.
Snuff out the candles after thanking each element.
Open the circle by turning counterclockwise and pointing as you turn. Visualize a wall of light dropping down until you are back into your normal life. Take a moment to let it all sink in. You can wear your ribbon all day, or take it off and put it away someplace safe like a box or a bag that can be stored on your altar or in a special drawer. Anytime you feel as though you need an extra boost, you can take it out and either wear it (under your clothes if you choose) or put it in a pocket.
Check out what I found when I went to Amazon to get the link to the book! It was #1 Best Seller in Paganism!